Sunday, 20 July 2008

Brown, Blair and Barriers

Following his visit to Iraq, PM Gordon Brown has now had talks in Tel Aviv with President Shimon Peres, and then met the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, in Bethlehem.
On his visit to the West Bank Brown promised £30m of extra financial support for the Palestinian Authority, and further support in training the Palestinian police.

The finance is part of the ongoing backing for economic and social development, and Mr Brown believes that with the prospect of economic prosperity, the "great entrepreneurial flair" of the Palestinian people will come alive. He says that the barrier erected by Israel in the West Bank is evidence of the urgent need for justice for the Palestinian people and an end to the occupation of Palestinian land.
I think he is right. But how this is going to be rectified and peace come about when more and more Israeli settlements are being made is not so easy to understand.
Our Middle East peace envoy, Tony Blair, doesn’t seem to be around today with his former chancellor (the threat of a bomb attack the other day soon sent him on his way. Does he realise this is everyday living for people in Gaza, be they Israeli or Palestinian ?)

I suggest that some of the £30m is used to blow up the wall that prevents ordinary Palestinians from the opportunity to live ordinary lives. By allowing them to do things like have fresh water, electricity and the means to get to the hospital when necessary without a 4 hour wait at an Israeli checkpoint. In some cases to get to their family business, which is now suddenly on the other side of a monstrous barrier. Get rid of the physical barriers and the peace process might become easier.